Shepherd’s Pie {in a Jar!}

There are some foods that just aren’t meant to be messed with. Updated? Tweaked? Seasoned a little more liberally than how Grandma made them? Absolutely. But the integrity of those things should never be fundamentally changed–things like Sloppy Joes or Chicken Pot Pie or Beef Stroganoff. Or Shepherd’s Pie. The kinds of things you grew up eating as a kid and you want to remember them exactly the way they were, only they never taste exactly like they did, so you have to adjust things, just a little, to account for being a grown-up.

We get lots and lots of requests for Shepherd’s Pie, but we’ve always been a little hesitant to post it because it’s a) not super pretty, so it can be hard to photograph and b) it’s so down home that it’s a little different from what we normally post here. But first of all, it’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow and this is a great Irish-ish meal to serve. Also, my husband asks for it on, like, a weekly basis, and since he gracefully and un-complaining-ly has been working crazy hours at work, coaching a team of wild and crazy 7-year-olds in soccer, remodeling our bathroom, putting up with my crazy, and taking care of the kids by himself when Sara and I have been traveling lately, I figured I owed it to him to come up with an awesome Shepherd’s Pie.

One of my biggest gripes about Shepherd’s Pie is that it’s messy. Also, the real and proverbial icing on the cake is the mashed potatoes, which everyone except for my ridiculously picky 7-year-old is magnetically and subconsciously attracted to, so somehow the potatoes go missing long before everything else. My solution? Shepherd’s Pie in a Jar.  The jar keeps the mess contained and it also lets you portion out the mashed potatoes so everyone gets their fair share. Except for (again), my son, who can knock them off onto his plate and skip them like a weirdo.

I’m not even going to post a picture of the ingredients because I forgot, like, half of the most important ingredients. Immediately before I took said picture, I walked into my daughter’s preschool classroom to pick her up, looked around at all the kids, and said, “Hey, is Meredith in here?” Yeah, she was standing right in front of me. I’m losing my freaking mind. But you’ll need ground beef (or lamb, if you’re wanting to be super authentic), onion, garlic, mixed veggies (I like peas and carrots…long story, but I’m not a fan of green beans in with my mixed veggies even though I love green beans), flour, beef broth, V8, red wine vinegar, parsley, thyme, seasoned salt, mashed potatoes, Parmesan cheese, and cheddar cheese. Yes, it’s a lot of ingredients. No, they’re not weird. Make extras and freeze ’em.

In a large saucepan of skillet, brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned and the onions and garlic are tender and fragrant.

Add the frozen veggies and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the moisture has evaporated.

Add seasoned salt, parsley, thyme, and Tabasco and stir until combined. Add the flour and stir until completely coated.

Add the vinegar, V8 juice, and beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened (about 15 minutes).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

While the beef mixture is simmering, prepare the potatoes according to your preference. Add the Parmesan and sharp cheddar cheeses. Spoon into a gallon-sized heavy-duty Ziploc bag and set aside.

Place 6 8-ounce canning jars on a baking sheet.

When the beef mixture is done simmering, season to taste and then ladle the beef mixture into the canning jars.

Cut the corner off the Ziploc bag and pipe onto the beef mixture. Place in oven for 15 minutes and bake until lightly browned on top. Serves 6.

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Shepherd’s Pie {in a Jar!}

  • Author: Our Best Bites
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25
  • Yield: serves 6
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Stove top to oven
  • Cuisine: Comfort Food

Description

Classic comfort food at its best! This homey shepherds pie is great for warming bellies on cold evenings. We love making it for S.t Patrick’s Day with a side of Irish brown bread!


Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
45 cloves garlic, minced
1  16-ounce bag frozen vegetables (we used peas and carrots)
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1  1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
pinch of dried thyme

10 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 ounces V8 juice
1  14.5-ounce can beef broth
1  1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 cups mashed potatoes (We used this tutorial with russet potatoes and buttermilk)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese


Instructions

In a large saucepan or skillet, brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned and the onions and garlic are tender and fragrant. Add the frozen veggies and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the moisture has evaporated. Add seasoned salt, parsley, thyme, and Tabasco and stir until combined. Add the flour and stir until completely coated.

Add the vinegar, V8 juice, and beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

While the beef mixture is simmering, prepare the potatoes according to your preference. Add the Parmesan and sharp cheddar cheeses. Spoon into a gallon-sized heavy-duty Ziploc bag and set aside.

When the beef mixture is done simmering, season to taste and then ladle the beef mixture into 8-ounce canning jars placed on a baking sheet. Cut the corner off the Ziploc bag and pipe onto the beef mixture. Place in oven for 15 minutes and bake until lightly browned on top.

 


Keywords: Comfort food, ground beef, mashed potatoes


40 comments

  1. Those are so cute! I’m thinking a trip to the store is in order to find little canning jars and to get the ingredients I don’t have. I have a picky 3 year old here who hates mashed potatoes, strangest thing ever! Although, she may be tempted into trying them because they kind of look like whip cream,and she DOES love that, lol!!

  2. Everything is cuter in a jar, right? Did you freeze yours with the potatoes piling up over the top like that or did you just freeze the meat part and will add the potatoes later? Inquiring minds want to know!

  3. So, if I didn’t do the little jars what size dish should I use and what other changes would you suggest (oven temo, time, etc???). Thanks so much, Jenny C.

    1. Just pop it in a regular pie plate or a casserole dish, spoon the mashed potatoes on top, and bake it for 15-20 minutes. You’re not really cooking anything, just browning the potatoes a little and getting the cheese in the potatoes all melty.

  4. You are ever so clever! I love the idea of putting them in a jar. This is so much fun and I think it photographed nicely. 😉

  5. This is brilliant! I’m definitely making this on the weekend!

    Do you think these little jars could be frozen and reheated later?

  6. This is absolutely brilliant! Perfect for little ones…and portion control, although I could see myself eating two or three of these in a sitting.

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